Each week ESPNHS will shine the light on a few non-seniors who are emerging as prospects to watch on the recruiting radar. Here is this week's Launching Pad.
DB Reon Dawson, Trotwood-Madison (Trotwood, Ohio)
Trotwood-Madison has been emerging as one of the top programs in Ohio ever since former NFL defensive back Maurice Douglass took over as head coach a few years back. This year Coach Douglass could very easily have one of the best secondaries in the nation, led by senior Bam Bradley and 2013 ESPNU 150 Watchlist prospect Cam Burrows.
Junior Reon Dawson has made this group even stronger and has been playing out of his mind since the start of the season. Not too many opponents have been able to pass on the Rams, so midway thru the season Dawson's stats will not do justice to what his impact has been. On the year he has with two interceptions, a fumble recovery and six pass break ups.
When asked about his performance this year, Dawson told ESPNHS, "Everything is going great, I am just trying to play at my highest potential and win games for our group of seniors. We have a big game this week and with a win it would be our fourth straight league crown."
He has made sure to take advantage of playing for Coach Douglass by asking as many questions as possible. "Coach Doug(lass) has been such a great coach, he will do anything to help me reach my full potential. He has really taught me a lot on how to read receivers body language and most important how to watch film to learn and get better."
Currently weighing just 170 pounds, Dawson is prepared to put in the work to get bigger this spring. One huge advantage already going for Dawson is his height at 6-2. He understands that this is something to take advantage of makes sure to watch corners on Sundays who have similar length to see how the attack and play receivers.
As far as recruiting goes, Vanderbilt is his lone offer but schools such as Kentucky, Louisville, Michigan, Michigan State, and Wisconsin are coming on strong, and the one school he most wants to hear from is Ohio State. Dawson currently holds a 3.3 GPA. - Michael White
DE Lewis Neal, James B. Hunt (Wilson, N.C.)
Neal is an ultra athletic defensive end prospect who is making a lot of noise out in North Carolina with his steady play. Hunt is undefeated (7-0) headed into a big game this Friday against Southern Nash (Bailey, N.C.). Neal told ESPNHS that he has been enjoying every bit of his junior season. His opponents on the other hand, can't say the same.
“I feel like I am playing great so far this year," Hunt tells ESPNHS. "I’m averaging at least 9 tackles a game and I don’t let anyone beat me. I don’t care how big or strong they are… I won’t lose because I won’t quit; I always want more.
“We are undefeated and doing very well because we are all playing together. No one puts themselves over the team and we all have each others back.”
Neal is sitting on an early offer from N.C. State and you can expect his list to grow as he gains more exposure. – Nick Ekbatani
OL Evan Voeller, West Linn (West Linn, Ore.)
Voeller is a 6-4, 285 pound run-blocking machine who was part of a group of select underclass offensive linemen who really shined during the NFTC tour in 2011. He has since seen his game reach new levels and is pleased with his overall play during his junior season.
“I trained very hard to get quicker and stronger and it has paid off. I’m a much better run blocker because of it, and my OL coach has been raving about my improved footwork.”
West Linn is certainly benefitting from the talented junior’s improved play. The Lions are 5-1 and have paved the way with their run-heavy offense.
Washington is the first to offer Voeller, and he told ESPNHS that he feels Oregon, Stanford, and Duke might be on the verge of offering as well.
“I have been out to Seattle, and I really like it. I am going to the Oregon-ASU game this weekend. I’ll probably check out a Stanford game as well.” – Nick Ekbatani
DB Shaquille Wiggins, Sandy Creek (Tyrone, Ga.)
The Sandy Creek Patriots have had a great deal of success on the gridiron in the past decade, producing five 10+ victory seasons since 2003, back-to-back state titles over the past two seasons and prominent alumni like NFL star Calvin Johnson of the Lions as well as Redskin DT Kedric Golston and Texans guard Andrew Gardner. This fall it's more of the same for the 6-0 Patriots, and a major reason why is 5-9, 160 pound junior cornerback Shaquille Wiggins.
Wiggins, who moved to Sandy Creek from Atlanta's Westlake High School over the summer, has been an immediate playmaker in the Patriots' secondary, intercepting seven passes and returning two for scores already this fall, while also forcing a fumble and catching a touchdown pass on offense as well.
The play-making corner also impressed this past spring at the Georgia Nike Camp and picked up his first few offers over the summer from Cincinnati, Ohio University, Michigan, Ohio State, Toledo and Ball State after a swing through several college camps in the Midwest.
The offers haven't stopped there for Wiggins.
"My latest offer is from Tennessee," Wiggins told ESPNHS on Monday. "So far this fall I've been to games at Auburn, Florida and Tennessee and I'm planning to go up to the Notre Dame-USC game on Oct. 22nd and also the Michigan-Ohio State game in November."
Wiggins thinks Florida could also be close to offering and he's also hearing from other schools such as LSU, Oregon and Wisconsin. - Brian Stumpf
Know of an underclassman prospect who should be featured in the Launching Pad? E-mail Kynon Codrington (Southeast),Nick Ekbatani (Linemen), Brian Stumpf (national) or Michael White (Midwest/Northeast) with your nominee.